Ex-cop jailed for improper relationships with two vulnerable women he met through his job

A former police officer has been jailed after starting a sexual relationship with a woman he met while on duty and bombarding another with phone calls.

Friday, 2nd November 2018, 2:25 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd November 2018, 2:28 pm
Jonathan Layzell met both women after they reported being victims of domestic violence.

Jonathan Layzell met both women, who reported they were victims of domestic violence, while working for Northumbria Police.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how the 43-year-old engaged in a "rapidly sexual" relationship with the first woman between December 2016 and March 2017.

Jonathan Layzell searched online for information about the relationships serving police officers are allowed to have with victims of crime.

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Layzell acted "flirty" with the woman after meeting her when he was called to her home and later sent her a friend request on Facebook.

Richard Bennett, prosecuting, told the court how Layzell sent the woman a suggestive message and the pair discussed having unprotected sex.

Layzell told the victim that he wanted to put her in his will and he wanted to be with her forever. He also said he was going to ask her father for permission to marry her.

Mr Bennett told the court how the victim searched the internet for information on whether serving police officers could strike up relationships with victims of domestic violence.

In a victim impact statement, read to the court, the woman said: "At the beginning of the relationship with Jon I would describe myself as being in a vulnerable position.

"In the early stages Jon would say exactly what I wanted to hear. He would look after me. The relationship turned sexual after a very short space of time.

"I was only asked over to have sex, this made me feel cheap and easy. I was making him happy.

"On reflection I was being controlled. Whenever we went anywhere it was places he wanted to go."

The court heard how Layzell also bombarded a second woman with 12 phone calls in one day after she reported their previous relationship to the police.

Mr Bennett said: "He was calling her on her work phone and threatening and shouting because she had gone to the police.

"The police call taker was able to listen in on two further calls.”

Mr Bennett said the two calls which were recorded show the defendant “clearly under the influence of alcohol."

Paul Rooney, defending, told the court Northumbria Police were aware of Layzell's previous relationship with the second victim, and the first victim was not a witness at the start of their relationship.

He said Layzell was "very drunk" when he made the multiple phone calls to the second woman between lunchtime and 9pm in March 2017.

Mr Rooney said he had sought help to address his drinking and now recognises he is an alcoholic.

He said: "Some days at his worst he was drinking around 25-30 units of alcohol a day."

Mr Rooney said Layzell had since joined AA and it has confirmed his sobriety.

He said: "He is described as a good, experienced officer who was well liked.

"He was struggling with depression and anxiety, something he had been struggling to cope with since 13 years of age. (In) 2003 he attempted suicide by taking an overdose."

Layzell, of Lobley Hill, Gateshead, previously admitted two counts of misconduct in a public office.

Judge Penny Moreland told him: "You are 43 years old, you are of previously good character. Until recently you were a serving officer.

"All this behaviour shows a complete disregard for the behaviour expected of a serving police officer. You know your behaviour has undermined the trust of the public in police officers.

"Women who are victims of domestic violence must be able to rely on the trust and openness of police officers. You have taken advantage of your role. You caused direct harm to the women that are victims of these offences."

Judge Moreland sentenced Layzell to 18 months in prison.

Following the case, Superintendent Sav Patsalos, head of Northumbria Police’s Professional Standards Department, said: "When we were made aware of the serious allegations faced by the former officer Jonathan Layzell he was suspended from duty.

"Following the sentencing today, despite the fact Layzell is no longer employed by the force, we will still be pursuing formal disciplinary proceedings, which will be fast-tracked.

"We expect officers and staff to maintain the highest levels of professionalism and if anyone is found to have fallen below these standards we are committed to taking appropriate action.

"We have worked extremely hard to increase the confidence of vulnerable victims to come forward and we are determined to ensure Layzell’s completely unacceptable actions do not undermine these efforts and those of officers and staff who display unwavering professionalism every single day."